Consulting Best Practices

The Boss’s Unreasonably High Expectations

In the world of business, it is not uncommon to find expectations and goals set that will almost always be out of reach. This environment is competitive and discouraging and ultimately harms performance. In a post at his blog, Lew Sauder explores how to handle unreasonable expectations.

A perfect example of this discouraging environment can be seen in the world of baseball. In 1919, several players from the Chicago White Sox fixed the World Series by intentionally losing the game. Why did they engage in such un-sportsmanlike behavior? Gamblers promised them more money if they lost than the World Series would have paid if they won. The same team’s pitcher had a clause in his contract that he would receive a $10,000 bonus after he won 30 games. He was benched for the rest of the season after he won his 29th.

There are times in which people are held accountable for events that are well beyond their control. Management may be pushing for an increase in performance that seems insurmountable. Unfortunately, all employees must have some level of entrepreneurial skills, even if they have to handle seemingly impossible outcomes.

The manager needs to notify their management when things are going awry and things are moving in the wrong direction. If the management team is still wishing to hold the manager accountable, they need to analyze the consequences they could be facing. Maybe there are no consequences at all because the objective was out of reach, but maybe their job is on the line. The latter indicates the need for swift, decisive action to either leave or to push through and hope for the best.

If the goals are not met, things turn on senior management to handle. If they choose to do nothing, then it looks bad on them because they are not holding their employees accountable. However, if they are too harsh, they will come across as unreasonable.

It all boils down to both sides dealing with high expectations reasonably. You can read the original post here:

Show More

We use cookies on our website

We use cookies to give you the best user experience. Please confirm, if you accept our tracking cookies. You can also decline the tracking, so you can continue to visit our website without any data sent to third party services.